Friday, July 10, 2009

Sustainability?

We had guests at the farm this past week. Two kids ages 7 and 9 to play with our two. It was full on, but great! This morning I had to take them south to meet their parents. On the drive I was listening to NPR's morning show. They were blathering about the economy and politics and I wasn't really listening. Then the sponsor came on and my brain kicked in. The hour was sponsored by our friends Monsanto. They came on and said "Morning Edition is sponsored by Monsanto, committed to sustainable agriculture..." They went on to talk about the wonderful genetically superior products they offered to sustain farming into the next century. My brain shut down after the first line. Monsanto, the champion of sustainable ag. The mind reels. So, I started thinking about the word sustainable. For Monsanto and for many people it implies that this business will continue into the "foreseeable future". It has nothing to do with long term, ecological, or geological sustainability. There is no thought about the future of the species or the planet, just the short term viability of the business. That is not my definition of sustainability, but it is the definition that is used by much of the public sector. Some effort needs to go into creating these definitions. Otherwise the words mean nothing.
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